Banana Bread Brownies

Hi there– Saw these banana bread brownies on Pinterest and knew they’d be in our kitchen soon!  I’ve eaten a few (delicious!!) and am taking the rest over to my father-in-law, Stu.  He’s my enthusiastic baking recipient.  We have mutual love of sweet treats.


1 large banana, smashed
1 cup sugar
1 egg
1/2 cup sour cream
1/4 cup butter, melted
1 tsp. vanilla
1 cup flour
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/3 tsp. salt
1 cup walnuts, chopped*

1/4 cup butter, melted
1  1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/2 tsp. vanilla
2 tab. milk

Smash the bananas in a mixing bowl.  Stir in the sugar, egg and sour cream.  Then mix in the melted butter and vanilla.  Finally stir in the flour, baking powder, salt and walnuts.

Spoon the batter into a 7″ x 11″ baking dish (or 9″ square) that has been spray with cooking spray.  Bake it up at 375 degrees for 25 minutes, until it is golden on top and a toothpick inserted comes out clean.

Mix up the glaze ingredients– melted butter, powdered sugar, vanilla and milk, beating until it’s smooth.  And pour directly over the hot banana brownies.  Enjoy!

*That’s a lot of walnuts!  The recipe I worked from used 1/2 cup, but I just like things nutty.


Almond Mocha Brownies

Hey all- Do you have an absolute favorite flavor of ice cream??  Mine is Jamocha Almond Fudge.  I usually  intend to try a different flavor, but when it comes down to it, I pretty much always end up with JAF.

So here is the best ice cream translated into brownies–  Mocha flavored brownies topped with rich creamy almond studded cream cheese frosting.  I’m embarrassed to say how many of these I ate!


1 family size brownie mix (for a 9″x 13″ pan size)
1/2 cup canola oil
2 eggs
1 tab. instant coffee (about one small instant coffee packet)

1/4 cup butter, melted (1/2 stick)
2 tab. unsweetened cocoa*
4 oz. cream cheese (1/2 box)
2 cups powdered sugar
1 tab. milk
1 tsp. vanilla
1 cup whole roasted almonds, cut in half

Mix up the brownies according to the instructions on the box (mine used 1/2 cup oil, 1/3 cup water and 2 eggs).  Stir in the instant coffee until it’s all blended in.

Spoon the brownie batter into a 9″ x 13″ baking dish that has been sprayed with cooking spray.  Bake it up at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Let the brownies cool before you add the frosting.

To make the frosting, use an electric mixer to combine the melted butter and the unsweetened cocoa.  Then use the mixer to beat in the cream cheese, powdered sugar, milk and vanilla.  (Start the mixer on low so you don’t send all the powdered sugar flying!)

Then stir in the almonds and spoon the frosting over the cooled brownies.  Enjoy!

*I like Hershey’s Dark Chocolate Cocoa

Coconut Peanut Butter Brownies


Hello bog friends– Been crazy days around here.  End of school, birthdays, showers, I’ve barely had time to cook up something to send along to you.  Been eating a lot of cobbled together dinners, completely unblogable.  But Saturday night I was asked to bring a dessert to an evening with friends and here it is…

I love brownies, hands down– and peanut butter– and coconut macaroons.  But all together???   Well, I gave it a try and these were really luscious.  It takes a few bowls, bouts of mixing, but these sweet things are definitely worth it!  Hope you give them a try too…



Brownie mix for a 8×8″ pan.

Peanut Butter layer:
8 oz. cream cheese, room temperature
1/4 cup peanut butter
1/4 cup sugar
1 egg
2 tab. milk
2 tab. yogurt

Coconut layer:
1 large egg white
2 cups shredded coconut
1/3 cup sweetened condensed milk
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1/4 tsp. salt


Make the brownie according to the directions on the box.  Spread the batter into a 8″ square or 9″ round pan* that has been sprayed with cooking spray and put it into a 350 degree over for 25 minutes.

Take out the brownie ayer and let it cook for a few minutes, while you mix up the other layers.

To make the peanut butter layer, use an electric mixer to beat together the peanut butter, cream cheese, sugar and egg.  Then mix in the milk and yogurt.  Set this aside.

To make the coconut layer, beat the egg white several minutes until stiff peaks form –works well if you have a whisk attachment on your electric mixer.  Set that aside.  In another bowl stir together the coconut, condensed milk, vanilla and salt.  Then gently fold in the egg whites until it’s all blended.

Then pour the peanut butter layer over the brownie layer in the pan.  And gently drop small spoonfuls of the coconut mixture over the peanut butter layer until it’s all covered.  Put it all back into the oven for another 25 to 30 minutes, until the top layers are set and firm.  (if the coconut starts to brown before the baking is finished, cover the pan with foil.

Take it out of the oven, and here’s the hard part.  Let it cool for an hour for the brownies to firm up before you cut them into tidy pieces to serve.


Brownie Bites with Chocolate Ganache

DSC00721Hello there– it goes without saying that we do love brownies around here.  And add a swirl of chocolate ganache on top and well, that’s all the better!

My grandma was a healthy eater, grew up on a farm down south.  But she would always say she needed a small bite of sweet at the end of a meal.  I think she would have thought these mini brownies were just about right– a little indulgence to cap off dinner.


1/2 cup butter (1 stick), melted
1/4 cup dark cocoa*
1 tsp. instant coffee**
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
3/4 cup flour

1/4 cup cream
1 tab. butter
2/3 cup chocolate chips (4 oz.)
cute little candies to drop on top***

Melt the butter in a microwave proof mixing bowl and then stir in the cocoa and instant coffee granules.

Stir in the sugar and eggs, vanilla and flour.  Spoon the batter into mini muffin cups****

Pop them into at 350 degree oven for 15 to 20 minutes until the brownies are firm to the touch.

Let them cool, while you make the ganache.

Heat the butter and cream together in a saucepan, just until it begins to simmer.  Take it off the heat and stir in the chocolate.  Beat it for a couple minutes with a wooden spoon until it’s smooth and satiny.

Drizzle the ganache over the brownies and top them with the cutest little candies you can find.  Ready to eat!


*My favorite is the Hershey’s Dark unsweetened chocolate powder
**The recipe I worked from called for Espresso powder– not available at my market so I used instant coffee granules– adds a nice richness to the chocolate.
***Got the cute little red candies at Crate & Barrel –but there are bins of cute candies at those candy shops in the mall.
**** You can use mini muffin papers, or just spray mini muffin trays with cooking spray.

Brownie Peanut Butter Cheesebake Bars

IMG_9913Hey there– This is a “What shall I take along to the bar-b-que potluck?” kind of recipe– a sweet chocolatey square at the end of a savory meal.  There’s the chewy brownie layer on bottom, creamy cheesy peanut butter in the middle and rich chocolate ganache to top it off.  It’s almost a Reese’s peanut butter cup in a baking pan.  Hope you try it!!


Brownie layer:
1 stick butter (1/2 cup) melted
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa*
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
3/4 cup flour

Peanut butter layer:
8 oz. cream cheese
1/2 cup peanut butter**
1/4 cup sugar
1 egg
1/2 tsp. vanilla

1/2 cup whipping cream
1 tab. butter
2 tab. corn syrup (optional)***
1  1/3 cup chocolate chips (8 oz.)

To make the brownie layer, melt the butter in the microwave and mix in just the cocoa to form a pretty chocolate paste.  The stir in the sugar and vanilla.  Whisk in the eggs and finally thoroughly stir in the flour.

Scrape the brownie batter into a 9″ (or 7’x11″) baking dish sprayed with cooking spray.  Set it aside for now.

For the peanut butter layer, beat the cream cheese and peanut butter with an electric mixer.  Then beat in the sugar, egg and vanilla.

Drop the mixture by small spoonfuls over the brownie batter in the pan.  And with a knife, oh so carefully, spread the peanut butter mixture over the brownies, careful not to mix the two layers. (This is the only tricky part!)

Pop that all into the oven a 350 degrees for 30 to 35  minutes–until the brownies are cooked through.  Poke the tip of a small knife in to see if you pull out small crumbs.

When it’s cooled, bring the cream, butter and corn syrup to a low simmer in a pan on the stove top.  Remove it from the heat and stir in the chocolate chips until they are all melted.  Then beat it al with a wooden spoon for 3 or 4 minutes.

Spread the chocolate ganache over the brownies and set it into the fridge for an hour or so until the topping sets up firm and then cut into delicious squares!

*We love the Hershey’s dark unsweetened baking cocoa.
** the recipe I worked from asked for creamy peanut butter– but I used super chunky–love all those little peanut bits!
*** I often leave out the corn syrup– but it does give the ganache that pretty shine.

Rocky Road Brownies

IMG_9712Hello there– These brownies aren’t pretty, but they are legendary around our family.  It seems my sister Lulu noticed this tall, handsome guy named Ted when they were in school.  But he had a girlfriend.  So as they got acquainted, my sis made him a pan of these brownies, just to be friendly, you know.  And that was it.  He was taken with Lulu and her brownies (so long girlfriend)  and 35 years and 4 kids later, she’s still baking him treats.

So if you have someone you hope to impress, or if you just like luscious brownie treats, these are what you’re looking for…

or the brownies that won Ted’s heart.

Brownie layer:
1 brownie mix for a 9″x13″ pan (family size)

6 oz. cream cheese
1/2 cup sugar
2 tab. flour
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter*
1 egg
1/2 tsp. vanilla

2 cups mini marshmallows
1 cup pecans, chopped (or more if you like them as much as I do)
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup chocolate chips
2 oz. cream cheese
1/4 cup milk
1 pound box powdered sugar (about 3 1/2 cups)
1 tsp. vanilla

Mix up the brownie mix according to the instructions on the box, adding eggs, oil and water.  Scrape it into a 9″x13″ pan that has been sprayed with cooking spray.

For the filling, use the electric mixer to beat together the cream cheese, sugar, flour, butter, egg and vanilla.  Drop it in dollops over the uncooked brownie mix and carefully spread it over the brownie layer.

Pop both layers into the oven together and bake it up at 350 degrees for 30 to 35 minutes until it’s cooked through and firm to the touch.

Immediately sprinkle the 2 cups of mini marshmallows and pecans over the brownies as they come out of the oven.  Then put them back in the oven at 350 degrees for just 2 minutes!

While they are cooling a bit, make the frosting.  In a microwave proof bowl, melt the butter and chocolate chips together (about 1 minute).  Then, with an electric mixer, beat in the cream cheese, milk, powdered sugar and vanilla.

Pour the warm frosting over the baked, marshmallow topped brownies.  Cool and cut into yummy bars to share with a friend.


Toffee Pecan Brownies

IMG_7910Hi friends– We spent the last weekend with about 40 of our best friends at a little get away down towards the beach.  It was low key– meals out on the patio, crazy games with lots of laughing and shrieking involved,  worthwhile conversations and a 6 mile walk down along the shore.

Also there was a table involving goodies of all sorts.  I dropped a plate of these brownies into the mix.  They’re easy to make in the middle of packing a suitcase and do travel well in an old plastic container.  Just right for sharing with friends…

1/2 cup butter (1 stick), melted
1/4 cup dark cocoa*
1 tsp. instant coffee**
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
3/4 cup flour
3 Heath candy bars, chopped***
1/2 cup pecans, chopped to nice bits

Stir together the melted butter, dark cocoa and coffee granules.  Then mix in the eggs, sugar and vanilla.  Finally blend in the flour just until it’s a dark creamy mess of batter.

Scrape all the batter into a 9″ square  of 11″x7″ baking dish that’s been sprayed with cooking spray.  Sprinkle on the bits of candy bar and then the pecans.  Pop it into the oven for 25 to 30 minutes (please don’t bake too long and let them dry out.).

Cut into polite little squares and enjoy with a friend to two (or more).

*I love, love the Hershey’s Dark cocoa– so darn chocolaty!!
**Just a little sleeve of that generic instant coffee equals a teaspoon– makes the chocolate all the richer.
***Heath bars, Skor bars, any toffee-ish candy bar

IMG_7912     IMG_7915Here’s the crew  that crossed with the ferry and trekked down to the beach.  Love you guys!!  (nice hats!)

Oatmeal Brownies

IMG_7039Hello Chocolate Loving Friends–
These might be the most intriguing brownies you’ve had in a long time.  You throw 2 cupfuls of oatmeal right into the brownie batter and then add a fudgey layer on top– and then there’s all those walnuts (my personal favorite).  These are real hearty brownies– I think you’ll like them just fine.

1 family size brownie mix (for a 9″x13″ pan)
1/2 cup canola oil
1/4 cup water
2 eggs
2 cups quick cooking oatmeal
2 cups walnuts, coarsely chopped
2 cups chocolate chips
14 oz. can condensed milk

IMG_7041Stir together the brownie mix, oil, water and eggs.  Then mix in the oatmeal and walnuts.  Spread 3/4 of the batter into a 9’x13″ baking dish, sprayed with cooking spray.

Then put the chocolate chips and condensed milk in a glass bowl and melt them together in the microwave (about 1 1/2 minute).  When you pull it from the microwave, stir the chocolate and milk together until smooth and melty.

Then spread the chocolate mixture over the brownies in the pan.  And top it all with little blobs of the remaining brownie batter.  Swirl it together with a knife.

Drop it into the oven at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.  Do not over bake– it will dry out!  Cut these rich bars into small squares.  Delish.

Chocolate Swirl Pumpkin Brownies

How on earth did I manage to cut these guys on such a slant??!  ugh.

Hey friends– To add another recipe to the torrent of pumpkin recipes coming your way this month, here are some moist and chocolatey pumpkin brownies.  This time of year I can’t help but pick up a can of pumpkin every time I pass through a grocery store.  I think there’s 3 in the pantry right now.  So here’s a chance to put some of that pumpkin to good use…


First layer:
1/2 cup butter*
1 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
1 cup flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1 1/2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice**
1/4 tsp. salt
3/4 cup pumpkin puree
1/2 cup chopped walnuts (or pecans)

Top layer:
5 tab. butter, melted
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa (I love Hershey’s dark cocoa)
6 oz. cream cheese
1/3 cup sugar
2 tab. flour
3/4 tsp. vanilla
2 eggs

With an electric mixer, beat together the 1/2 cup butter, brown sugar, egg and vanilla until it’s smooth.  Then mix in the flour, baking powder, pumpkin pie spice and salt.  Finally blend in the pumpkin and walnuts until it’s all well mixed.

Spoon this into a 10″x10″ square baking dish that has been sprayed with cooking spray.

Then mix the melted butter with the cocoa.  With the mixer, beat in the cream cheese, sugar and flour.  And then mix in the vanilla and eggs until it is completely blended and smooth.  Spoon this over the pumpkin in the pan –and then swirl it carefully with a pointy knife.

Pop it into the oven at 350 degrees for 35 to 40 minutes until is it cooked through.  Test it with a toothpick to see if the interior is completely baked.

*If the butter is coming from the fridge, soften it in the microwave for just a few seconds.
** If you live in Socal, Trader Joe’s has he best pumpkin pie spice at a much lower price than most places, but it’s only on sale there in the fall.

Peanut Butter Cookie Brownies

IMG_4619Hi you all–  That adorable Sally is getting married in a couple weeks!  And all the family’s baking-type friends are providing easy to serve desserts for a big bountiful sugar laden table of sweets.  She’ll have little place cards labeling “Lavendar Lemon Bars by Ruth” or “Coconut Cupcakes by Betty.”  It should be spetacu-licious!

My contribution is these peanut butter cookie brownies– I hope.  I’m waiting for them to come out of the oven to see if they are special enough for Sally’s wedding!  They do smell peanut buttery good!  If I do send this off to you, you know they turned out A-OK!


Brownie Layer:
1 family size dark chocolate brownie mix (for a 9″x13″ pan)*
2 eggs
1/2 cup canola oil
1/4 cup water

Mix up the brownie mix per instructions on the box.  The one I used called for 2 eggs, 1/2 cup oil and 1/4 cup water.  Stir is 50 strokes until it’s all blended and spread it into a 9?x13″ pan sprayed with cooking spray.

Peanut Butter Cookie Layer:
1 cup chunky peanut butter
1/2 cup chopped peanuts (optional)**
1/4 cup white sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
4 tab. butter
2 tab. flour
1 tsp. vanilla
1 egg

Put all these ingredients into a mixing bowl and beat them together with an electric mixer.  Drop the soft batter by spoonfuls onto the top of the brownies.  Then use a sharp knife to swirl it into a pretty pattern with the chocolate batter.

Pop it into the oven at 350 degrees for 35-40 minutes until they are cooked through– Insert a sharp knife to check.

*You can make your own brownies from scratch.  I do sometimes.  But I think a dark chocolate brownie mix would work just fine here.
**I added extra peanuts–just because I love them so much.  Got one of those little bags for 50 cents at the check out line at the grocer’s–to make them a little bit peanutier.

P.S.– They turned out just fine.  I took this practice batch and set them on the table in the teachers’ room at school and they were a hit!

Caramel Cream Cheese Brownies

IMG_3621Hello everyone–  I always try to have a chocolate cake on the counter when Ani and Brian drive down from San Francisco.  Ani is a real “cake face.”  And who doesn’t love a good old chocolate cake?  But this trip we were traveling on for a weekend in Big Bear.  So I decided to bake up something more portable– a pan of brownies.  These have a cream cheese layer on top with a bit of caramel swirled in.  Sweet and gooey.

1 family size brownie mix (makes a 9″x13″ pan of brownies)
4 eggs
8 oz. cream cheese, room temperature
5 tab. butter, room temperature
1/3 cup sugar
2 tab. flour
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 cup caramel sauce*

IMG_3481Mix up the brownie mix according the directions on the box, using 2 of the eggs.  Spread the batter into a 9″ x 13″ baking pan sprayed with cooking spray.

Then with an electric mixer beat together the cream cheese, butter, sugar, flour, vanilla and the last 2 eggs.  Beat on high until the batter is smooth and creamy.  Carefully spread the cream cheese mixture over the brownie batter.  Then spoon the caramel sauce over the cream cheese layer.  Use the tip of a sharp knife to swirl the caramel and cream cheese together.

Bake up the brownies at 350 degrees for 35 to 45 minutes, until they are firm to the touch and just starting to brown around the edges.  Insert a sharp tip knife to be sure they are cooked all the way through!  Let them cool a while before you cut them into squares (unless you can wait!)

*If you’re a better cook than I, you can whip up your very own caramel sauce.  I use Hershey’s caramel sauce from the jar. It’s a favorite staple in my cupboard.

Caramel Coconut Brownies

IMG_1278Hello there–  We had friends for dinner last night out under the maple trees out in the yard.  Seemed like the first night of summer talking through the evening.  But when they all finally wandered home, I still needed to bake up something for “goodie day” at my school.  (Teachers are notorious goodie aficionados).  This recipe takes 10 minutes to drop in the oven (thanks to a box brownie mix*),  but looks like it took you a good long while.  Perfect for late night, want to get in bed baking…

1 large brownie mix (size for a 9″x 13″ pan)
2 eggs
1/3 cup oil
1/3 cup water
1 more egg
1 cup caramel ice cream topping
2 cups coconut
1 cup slices toasted almonds**

Make up the brownies according to the directions on the box (this particular box called for 2 eggs and 1/3 cup oil & 1/3 cup water).  Scrape the batter into a 9″x 13″ pan sprayed with cooking spray.  In another bowl, whisk the egg til it’s fluffy.  Then stir in the caramel, coconut and almonds.  Carefully spoon it over the brownie batter.  Bake it all up at 350 degrees for 35 minutes.  Let it cool a bit before you cut into it– so the brownies and topping will set up.  Yummm.

*Brownie mixes, I love them.  I do make a couple favorite brownies that are better made from scratch, but for your “I just need that rich chocolate layer and am in a hurry kind of brownie,” I think mixes are the best.

**sliced toasted almonds bagged up and ready to go at Trader Joe’s

Sally’s Super Brownie Bars

IMG_8064Hi all–  I’ve eaten a lot of good food at my friend Sally’s table– the best St. Louis ribs, her succulent honey coated pork loin, and don’t get me started on her crazy good “nutty bars.”  So when all the Monday night friends poured in last night for our Christmas dinner, I knew Sally would carry in something delectable.  These super chewy, crunchy, caramely cookie bars are the best.  Thanks Sally for letting me steal your recipe right on to the blog!


Brownie Layer:
3 ounces unsweetened chocolate
1/2 cup butter
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
2/3 cup flour
1/4 tsp. baking powder

Melt the chocolate and butter in a saucepan over low heat.  Let it cool a few minutes.  Then stir in the sugar, eggs. vanilla.  And finally mix in the flour and baking powder. Line a 9″x13″ pan with foil, coming up over the edges and then pour in the brownie mixture.  Bake it at 350 degrees for 15 to 17 minutes.  Cool this on a wire rack.

Caramel Layer:
1 1/2  14 oz.package of vanilla caramels (about 68)
2 tab. evaporated milk
1 tab. water
1 1/2 cups rice cereal

Unwrap the caramels and drop them in a large microwave safe bowl.  Add in the evaporated milk and water and microwave for 3 minutes, or until the caramel is melted, stirring every 30 seconds.  Then stir in the rice cereal.  Spread this mixture over the cooled brownie layer and stick it in the freezer while you make the next layer.

Nougat Layer:
1 1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup evaporated milk
1/2 cup butter (1 stick)
7 oz. jar marshmallow cream
1/4 cup peanut butter

In a saucepan, combine the sugar, evaporated milk and butter.  Bring to a boil over medium high heat and then reduce heat to medium.  Stir and simmer for 5 minutes.  Mix in the marshmallow cream and peanut butter.  Spread it all over the caramel layer and pop it back in the freezer.

Chocolate on Top Layer:
2 cups chocolate chips
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup whipping cream

In a small saucepan, heat and stir the 3 ingredients over medium heat until the chocolate is melted and smooth.  Pour chocolate over the nougat layer, spreading out to the edges.  Cover the pan with foil and chill for 2 hours.  Cut into small, delicious squares.  Makes 64 brownies.

These brownies may sound like a lot of work.  But all the steps are pretty simple and the super duper brownies are the pay-off!   Hugs to you Sal–thanks again for all the good food over a whole lot of years.

Brownie Pies

Hi baking buddies– This is just a smallish treat to tuck alongside your mug of tea.  One batch makes a whole lot of these, so you can share with friends…   We served them up at a baby shower with a few other small goodies last weekend.

1 large brownie mix (9×13 pan size)
canola oil
4 eggs
8 oz. cream cheese
1/3 cup sugar
2 tab. flour
3/4 tsp. vanilla
5 tab. butter
candy garnish

Make the brownies with 2 of the eggs, oil and water according to the directions on the box.  Spoon the brownie batter into mini muffin pans (use paper liners or spray the pans with Pam).  Fill them a smidge over half full.  Then beat up the cream cheese and sugar with a mixer.  Next, beat in the flour, vanilla, butter and remaining 2 eggs.   Spoon this mixture over the tops of the little brownies in the muffin pans.  Then bake it all up at 350 degrees 25 to 30 minutes until the brownies are firm.  When they cool, top them with a little candy garnish.  Makes about 30 of these little guys.

So there you go.  Hope you like them as much as I do…

(If you live in Orange County, like me, you can pick up the candy hearts at the Decor store in La Habra– or check the Sweet Factory for all kinds of pretty little things to pop on top)